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Monday, August 10, 2015

A perfect gift for your brother and sister

A perfect gift for your brother and/or  sister is waiting for you to pick up this  Raksha Bandhan day at, and Amazon India
A telling tale of sibling love and bondage GOLD DUST by Santwana Chatterjee
A perfect gift for 'Rakhsha Bandhan'
Gold Dust- a telling tale of love and bondage of brother and sister, a book by Santwana Chatterjee at Pothi.Com, Flipkart and Amazon

Saturday, March 28, 2015

When Zizu met the Younh Brave Heart Club

When Zizu met the young brave heart club 

Zizu stood straight with hands in his pockets of the black ragged jeans. He was his usual casual self with a grey jacket and a checkered red shirt inside . He had a unique crop haircut with two large   Z shaped cut on both sides , a hint of a smile in his intelligent eyes and an unusual black
Beauty spot on his right cheek complementing his fair complexion.

This is my cousin Zizu, introduced Rohan proudly to his friends.

Why Zizu, Pinky asked.

Because I was named after the famous foot baller Zidane, Zizu declared proudly.

Pinky and Tukai started giggling for no apparent reason.

What is so funny , Zizu asked irritated, his usual calm composer broken for a while. 

And if I ask 'why Pinky'

Pinky and Tukai gulped down their laughter and said welcome to the Young Brave Heart Club.

Brave heart Club , Zizu sounded confused.

Yes that is how we are named and will tell you the story some other time, Rohan declared proudly.

Bablu liked Zizu at first sight and being a child he gave Zizu a hug . Zizu was pleasantly surprised and hugged him too.

So long Bhulo was watching them and suddenly gave a whime and jumped up putting his paws on Zizu's shoulders and sniffed  profusely and apparently finding a good soul licked his face.

Zizu was unnerved with the suddenness of it but soon regained his composer and patted Bhulo affectionately. Every body had a hearty laugh at it.

Zizu lived with his parents at Mumbai  and came to visit his cousin Rohan after the Pujas as his father would be going far away at Canada in January as his father has secured a job there.

They took Zizu around their neighborhood . On the other-side of the road of Pinky,Tukai and Rohan's residence there was a large unkept compound with a large dilapidated building , with broken windows and creepers all over the building. The place once housed the state transport bus garage, buses lining up on the compound and the office building . The office had long been transferred to some other place and the compound was now a dumping ground for scrap material like broken body parts and tires and irons.

Does anybody live there, Zizu asked!

Only snakes , rats , thieves, and may be ghosts , informed Tukai.

Have you ever gone inside? Zizu wanted to know

Are you mad! Chorus

The group started planning their days ahead and on that day they had a grand dinner at Tukai's home and after a mouth watering meal they were called by Geeta aunty to to the hall where she had made a large bed on the floor with soft curl-on mattresses with white and flowered cover and soft pillows.

The grouped jumped on the bed and chatted and played word game, untakhsari, and being dog tired fell fast asleep.

At about mid night Zizu woke up and heard a strange rapping sound. He tiptoed to the window and looked outside. To his surprise he spotted light coming out of the corner room of the dilapidated building and some shadowy figures.

Enthralled Zizu put on his slippers and came out of the house to find out what was going on inside. Zizu peeped through the window and was surprised to find two men  bent on some machine and cutting papers, it seemed to him. Suddenly something hit his head from behind and he lost consciousness.

Next morning Zizu was found missing and the gang went in search of him in the neighborhood though at a complete loss where to start from.

Bhulo was conspicuously absent and his bark was coming from afar. The friends went running and found bhulo with one of the slippers Zizu wore dangling from his mouth with his tail up and wagging. Seeing the group approaching he went running back to the dilapidated building. 

While trying to peep inside Zizu had put two bricks and climbed on them putting his slippers behind.

The slippers were lying untouched.

The group went into a huddle and discussed the next move. Pinky said 'let's call   Police Uncle'

Police uncle warned them not to tell any body about it and behave normal. He went in the disguise of a rag picker inside the building about noon and started looking for any clue both inside and outside in the compound.  

He found a piece of paper which appeared to be a part of 500 rupee 
Note; a closer look and he was convinced it was a fake. So that is it , police uncle murmured . 

Suddenly a crumpled paper at the dark corner of the room caught his eyes. He picked it up and straightened it. It was a crumpled and oily news paper piece obviously the crooks must gave bought some oily food and he was about to throw it when he noticed written in red ink and a blunt thing Bankim Ghosh Lane.

Sabbas Zizu ! Mumbled police uncle.

At mid day police uncle Pinky and Bhulo went in disguise to Bankim Ghosh Lane and ask the locals whether there was a printing house nearby. A few inquiries later an old gentleman pointed at a pink two storied house  . Police uncle clad in dhoti and punjabi took Pinky along and knocked on the front door. The door was opened by a  curly haired young boy who stood blocking the door. Police uncle shoved him aside and went inside with Pinky and Bhulo.

An old fat and bald man was sitting behind a wooden table . He was wearing a sandow ganji and a half lungi. 

What you want- he shouted in a Graf voice. Police uncle said pointing at Pinky , my niece has written some poems, I was wondering if you could print them as a book! 

While talking to the man he was surveying the room, there were two exists, one through which they came in and another one led to a staircase. As planned beforehand Police uncle looked at Pinky and Pinky gave bhulo a push. Bhulo ran up the stairs and the bald man shouted 'stop the dog you stupid girl' and in his excitement toppled the chair and fell on the floor his lungi unfastened  . Pinky ran after Bhulo up the staircase and stood still where a man was standing with a gun pointed at Bhulo. But the man was not expecting what came to him, it was a bullet from police uncles revolver which hit the gun on his grip. While police uncle over powered him Pinky and Bhulo went from room to room looking for their friend Zizu. 

Suddenly Bhulo stopped before a big laundry box and started barking. Pinky opened the lid and there was Zizu huddled inside gagged and tied. Meanwhile Policemen waiting outside arrested the men and searched and discovered six bundles of fake 500 and 1000 rupee notes and a lot of discriminating documents and addresses. They realized they had caught the notorious  gang of interstate fraud stars. 

At Rohan's house Zizu was relaxing on a bed with each member of the gang including Bhulo sitting around him asking many a question. Pinky said Tell us Zizu why he did not do any harm to you?

Because they were going to ask for ransom from Zizu s parents. One of my men arrested the man red handed who called up his father at Mumbai! The answer came from Police uncle. 

But Zizu police uncle added "tell me how could you write the address that two with red paint."

Zizu smiled and said ' while they knocked me out they put me down on the floor and did not tie me up, probably thought I wont come to sense that early. But I came to sense quite early and heard them about cleaning the place before police come searching and hide for the time being at the Bankim Ghosh Lane joint  . I found a paper they threw after eating the potato fries and as the corner was dark I wrote the address with my little finger and Police Uncle it was not red paint , it was blood which was coming out from the wound at the back of my head."

There was a stunned silence in the room . Police uncle spoke first 'Bravo boy, here is a token appreciation from my part' and to Zizu's delight presented him with a black and white world cup football replica with the name Zedane painted boldly on it.

But beta you should not have been so careless and ventured out alone at night something more harmful could have befallen you, said ZiZu's aunty.

But nothing had happened to our hero Zizu, cried the gang together
"Welcome to the club of young brave hearts Zizu, hip hip hurray! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The rising sun in human form

The rising sun in human form

It was around February -March 1980 when I was going through a very bad
Patch in life. My husband was unhappy with his work place and started drinking so much so that it seemed he was going the 'alcoholic' way. He became so thin that my heart came to my mouth whenever I looked at him.

One day he vomited blood and the doctor said “either quit alcohol or know what"

I was at my wits end , there being no one that I could turn to. I was an orphan from my childhood and my grandpa reared me up , gave love , affection and educated me. I was very good at studies and finished my Masters in Philosophy and was preparing for my Doctors ( PhD) when Grandpa fell ill and decided to marry me off.

My dream for a PhD in Philosophy was washed away with my tears as my in - laws were against it. My grandpa died a few years after my marriage.

None-the-less my married life was a happy one with a loving husband and lovely cute daughter.

My husband developed the drinking habit later and due to excessive drinking, his health, career and friends started dwindling. My in laws started blaming me though I saw no reason for it. We were running short of money and every month ours dues at the local grocery shop increased to my utter embarrassment.

At last I started to look for a job but none came in my way as I was already thirty and I had neither qualified to be a school teacher nor a college as both posts needed specific degrees after finishing Masters, so I learned typing and got a typists job and felt like committing suicide.

In the meantime our daughter was blooming into a beautiful flower and we Managed to put in a well know English medium school.

I , myself was an avid reader, both English and Bangla literature ; but to my dismay my daughter never showed any interest for reading Bangla books so I had been presenting her with a children's Bangla monthly magazine 'Kishore Bharati' for years together.

One day I found she had not even touched the pages of any of the magazines and they were dumped at one corner of her room.

My husband had become an alcoholic, I was drudging as a typist, my in-laws were angry with me for no fault of mine, we were constantly in debt, so much so that friends started avoiding us. My grandpa was no more there to console me.

It was my daughter's birth day. I told her pick up all the copies of the Bangla magazines, put them in a bag; every year you get gifts on this day , today you will gift these to children who have nothing , no parents, no proper food, no proper dress and no proper place to live.

I heard of Mother Teresa and her Home for destitute children but was not sure about its location but vaguely remember somebody saying it was near the Kalighat area near the crematorium.

After some- search we located a non-descriptive room on the side of footpath on the door of which there was a plate with inscription "Nirmal Hriday" (sacred heart)

We stepped in and inside it was cool and dark.  A man was sitting on a chair and he greeted us with a smile.

We told him about our mission and he said home for children was in Hazra Road and pointed to us old and sickly skeleton like bodies lying on the floor , there were about twelve men like that. On one side of the room there were concrete bath tubs.  He explained mother picked them up from various parts of the street of Calcutta(it was not Kolkata then) all most on the verge of death, hungry and with all kind of illness left by the society to die on the street.

Mother had made arrangement for them to sleep on rugs on clean concert floors, they were bathed and fed by the helps who were once picked up and saved by Mother. They were offered food, medicine, a place to sleep and loving care of Mother. The home runs with money received as doles for the cause.

The doorman said I was picked up by mother once when I was lying and dying with tuberculosis on the streets. Mother took me and cured me , fed me and touched me with compassion and I started feeling like a human being once again. I have pledged my life to Mother and her cause.

As per his advise we left the books to be taken to the children home by the Sisters who visit Nirmal Hriday twice every day.

We came back with a feeling of witnessing God's handiwork and were overwhelmed with gratitude for being alive,  healthy with a roof on our head and food in our mouth.

I realized how lucky we were and also how selfish. I do not know how but soon after the visit my husband decided to quit drinking and I took him to my doctor uncle who helped him in his effort. Now he is a teetotaller, my daughter an engineer and I retired from the same organization as an Assistant Secretary;all because on the darkest hour of my life I had witnessed a rising sun in a human form.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I wanted to self publish my favourite poems for children and contacted a relatively new publisher 24by7

To test waters I first let them publish a black and white book of adult poems "Nari tumi k" and I was satisfied

Next I contacted them and with the proposal of publishing my children poem book with sketches that were made by Sri Tapomitra Bandyopadhyay

They requested me to make it a colored book for which I would have to pay INR 23440/-
And they would provide me

(a) option of choosing my colored cover page created by their inhouse artist from three samples
(b) they would make the sketches provided in mono colors
(c) I was entitled to three to four illustrations proved by their inhouse artist
(d) I would get 10 free copies
(e) 10 colored posters to be displayed by them at the coming book fair
(e) 96 colored personal card for advertisement
(f) they promised to provide two drawings with each poem one by Topomitra and other my colored drawing with computer

And by no means they would take a single step without getting my written consent

What they did

They sent me a printed book without taking my consent about the cover page

Only the sketches were printed while they called for the entire file of computer drawing from me

Apart from the title page and dedication page the whole book was black and white only the first letter of each poem was Red (?)

The title of poems were highlighted with odd colors

One of the poem was incomplete and the next two were totally omitted

This thin book of 92 pages are priced at INR 699/-

After consultation they made some changes like

The pages of the whole book were replaced with lightly colored pages

My colored computer drawings were taken into consideration

All the poems were included

Ten free copies , 96 cards and 10 colored posters provided but unfortunately
 they remain unused as they have not booked any stall at the bookfair

In the reprinted book a poem has been unnecessarily edited so that it has become meaningless and a jargon of unrelated words

The book is still priced INR 699/-

By the way this is my seventh selfpublished book

Where do writers like me stand

Friday, January 16, 2015



February 14 is considered as Lovers Day all over the world but I do not know why this day should be linked to Romantic boy- girl love.  Love to me is next to God and the best example of Love is that between a mother and child. I am sure saint Valentine , if alive, would happily agree with me in this regard.

So today , I would beg of Him to give  unending power to make the last day happy and painless for my niece  Mantu  , who is in tremendous pain both physical and mental, with fourth stage cancer, suffering terribly , knowing her days are only numbered.

Whenever I talk to her and her mother over iphone and see each other in "face time" my heart breaks into thousand pieces and feel like crying out loud but I remain quiet and show I am cheerful and know she would survive , with some miracle drug.

Mantu asks " Mashi  please pray for me" yes dear of course I say.
Mashi I want to see you- and I smile and say of course dear we are going to meet soon.
She stays with her mother in New Jersey and when she says "Mashi I would like to come to India and meet all my cousins" I almost gulp down  my tears.

Now that I am supposed to get every power to make some one I know to have the greatest ball on this Valentine day, I would chose Mantu and like the fairy God Mother make her look as beautiful as I have seen her before cancer, make her wear beautiful dress like Cinderella, and make her enter the most gorgeous ball at New Jersey City.

People will look at her and wonder who the fair lady is, eligible bachelors will fight with one another to have a dance with her and the best of the young men will get a chance to look at her eyes and Whisper "I Love You" , a word she has not so far heard and will never hear again. The evening will pass  like a dream and Mantu will forget everything about her illness and look into the young man's eyes and say I Love You too.

At the stroke of midnight God would make her sleep forever with the belief firm in her that she is cured and in Love and her charming Love is taking her to Heaven for ever.

 If and only if I could have the power to change one day in the girl's last days , this is it.

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